Mental Health Break - Suicide

As a mental health professional who prefers to work with the adolescent population, I am faced with topics that are very serious in nature. The one that I wish to discuss briefly is suicide and prevention.

  1. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24.
  2. Suicide takes the lives of almost 30,000 Americans, every year.
  3. Many who attempt suicide, never thought to seek professional care.
  4. 80% of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully. 

It is known to many as a "silent epidemic", where no one is talking about it. If you know anyone who may be silently suffering, reach out to that person and urge them to talk about their problems. It is always better to know that someone is concerned.

Depression is one mental illness that oftentimes lead to suicidal ideation. However, it is a known fact that what you eat can drastically change how you feel. Creating a healthy eating habit may have the ability to significantly lower your symptoms of depression. Keep in mind, it is always best to consult with your physician before going "cold turkey" off of anti-depressants (if you are taking them).

Also remember, that you will not notice a change within a day or two, but over an extended period of time. You can take smaller steps to adapt to eating healthier. Drink plenty of water, get tons of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and fresh fish!

What's for Breakfast? - Green Smoothie w/ Avocado

If you want to drink a creamy & filling smoothie, try adding Avocado to the mix!

  • Spinach
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Raw Honey
  •  2 Bananas
  • Ground Flaxseeds
  • Ice & Water

What's for dinner? Honey Teriyaki Salmon & Asparagus

I just wrapped up a two week fast, where I only ate fruits, vegetables and seafood. I also incorporated whole grains, water and 100% fresh juices. I had gotten in the habit of doing spiritual fasts, where no meat was allowed, that I was extremely excited with the addition of seafood! I'll discuss fasts later, when we learn about detoxification.

Honey Teriyaki Salmon, Garlic Asparagus
& Brown Rice
So, for tonight's dinner, I prepared Honey Teriyaki Salmon, Garlic Asparagus and Brown Rice. This meal is equipped with not 1, but 3 "bad mood" busters! Salmon is rich with omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, two known sources that influence our moods. Also, if you recall from my Dr. Oz post, Asparagus is filled with folic acid, which is great if you are experiencing mood swings! I always cook using tons of Garlic, but I will have a separate post on the benefits of eating Garlic and your stay tuned!

See my recipe below:
  • I marinade my salmon for about 2 hours in rice wine, raw honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, and sesame seeds. Afterwards, I heated some extra virgin olive oil in a grill pan and seared the salmon. I like my salmon to be flaky, so almost well done, but not dry.
  • In a separate pan, I heated extra virgin olive oil and about 10 tsp of water in a pan. After clipping the ends of the asparagus, I placed them in the pan, along with minced garlic and a dash of garlic salt. Cover and allow to simmer for less than 10 minutes. This is a mix of steaming and sauteing.
  • Return water to boil with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil and cook brown rice until it's done.
Enjoy! Bon appetit!

What's for dinner? Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
A few weeks ago (during my fast), I cooked Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers and they turned out absolutely delicious! I found a few recipes online, combined them together and created my own recipe, which is something I typically do. To learn how I made this dish, email me at

Quick Facts:
Not too many people know that bell peppers have the ability to lift your mood, particularly red and green bell peppers. These vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, which helps to regulate the neurotransmitter, norepinephrin, which in turn affects your mood.

In addition to the bell peppers, Quiona is filled with Vitamin B. It's a known fact that Vitamin B helps keep the mind sharp, maintains brain volume and...stabilizes your mood.

Reader Recipe #1: Ground Turkey & Veggie Tacos

My sister, Tiffany, recently requested a grocery list of various items to purchase and she immediately went home and began cooking! I love leaving the grocery store and feeling inspired to make a new or tried and true tasty dish! Her meal for the night was Ground Turkey & Veggie Tacos

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • cloves garlic finely chopped 
    (can use garlic in squeezable bottle 2 TSP)
  • 1/3 or 1/4 cup Chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms 
  • Favorite Taco seasoning packet
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 2-3 TSP Sour Cream
  • 2-3 TSP of fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Avocado
  • Favorite Shredded cheese 
  • Lettuce
  • Flour or Corn torillas

In a pan, brown your ground turkey, when ground turkey is almost brown add your onions and garlic.  Once the onions and garlic softens add the portobello mushrooms. Then add your taco seasoning pack; follow directions as on packet.  Let simmer.
Separately heat your favorite black beans. Along with warming your tortillas (I prefer warming them in a skillet for a slight crisp).
In a small bowl combine sour cream, garlic and cilantro. Can add salt and pepper to your liking (not needed). Set aside until you're ready to top your tacos.
When ready to serve top your meat mixture with cheese, black beans, tomatoes, dollop of the cilantro sour cream, avocado and lettuce. You can eat the black beans and avocado separately.
Add or omit based on your taste buds!
Enjoy & happy eating from my sister, Tiffany!

Green For Life

If you have been wondering how I came into nutrition, I want to share with you a little bit about my "green" journey. Some years ago, I was working full-time, in school for my master's degree and interning for a mental health outpatient clinic. I was so busy with life that I was running low on energy, so I began to research ways to naturally increase my energy. I was thinking along the lines of juicing, but being that I was gearing up to quit my full-time job and increase my internship hours, I really did not want to spend $200+ on a good juicer. It was at that time that a light bulb went off! So I said to myself, "Jennifer, work with what you have a blender!"

Granted, I had done a lot of smoothies in the past, but just your typical fruit smoothies (no greens). So while doing my research on increasing my energy I conducted a web search for "juicing vs. smoothies" and I was amazed at the outcome! It has been debated, but I found an overwhelming amount of information on the absence of fiber from juicing, that I just decided to go ahead and start blending!

If you don't know me personally, a fact about myself is, once I commit to something, I obsess over it for days and sometimes months before I fully dive in. One of my favorite obsessions during this timeframe was finding "Green For Life", a small 186 page book by Victoria Boutenko. Packed inside this book was an abundance of information to aid me on my "green" journey. Within, you will find green smoothie recipes, the Roseburg Study, healing powers of chlorophyll and the benefits of digesting fiber (just to name a few).

After one month of drinking green smoothies for my breakfast (daily), I noticed that I had achieved my goal of increased energy! In addition to my energy levels, I had regular bowel movements and I was more focused, mentally. I cannot express to you how drinking my greens changed my life! I felt so much better and I began to crave green vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I just could not get enough!

I purchased my copy from Amazon due to the book being out of stock at the time of my purchase. However, I support what the Boutenko family is about, so please click the link and order here.


Gerber Organic Baby Food!

Organic Pear Spinach
So you know, healthy eating doesn't just have to end with you, right? Yesterday on Thanksgiving Day, my brother popped open one of these lovely pouches to feed my 1 year old nephew, Phillip. I was so intrigued as Phillip scarfed down this tiny pouch, that I picked it up immediately after he put it down! I couldn't believe my eyes...Gerber makes healthy baby food! In fact, they cover a nutrition guide via the Gerber website for "all stages". Being that I have no children, please excuse me if you've known about this! Also on their website, you can select the Interactive Menu Planner option and create meals for your little ones. While you're over there, check out 7 tips to better nutrition for your kiddos.

Nothing boils my blood more than seeing a family in a hurry, stopping nightly at fast food restaurants to feed their children! Remember, healthy eating begins with you and should continue on down to your children. Taking just an extra 5 minutes at the grocery store can make all the difference in your child's health. They also will be equipped with the necessary fruits and green vegetables that they so need! You'll find that adult veggie eaters were once children who enjoyed their vegetables.

An apple a day...

Honey Crisp Apple
May keep the psychiatrist away!

Apples have tons of health benefits, one of which is an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin is known to boost your immune system, especially when feeling moody or stressed!

Food-Mood Boosters

Obviously, I've been doing a lot of research on the topic of food and our mood. Dr. Oz has summarized how 3 superfoods can increase your moods. See below, and feel free to click the link to be directed to his website.

For Anxiety: Drink Kefir Milk
This milk is different from regular milk because it’s fermented with probiotic kefir grains. Kefir milk is also loaded with tryptophan – an amino acid that also helps raise serotonin levels in the brain – which can help reduce anxious feelings. Drinking one cup a day is enough to keep you feeling calm.

For Mood Swings: Eat Asparagus
If you’re prone to mood swings, asparagus is a must-have vegetable in your diet. It’s packed with folic acid; low levels of this nutrient have been linked to depression. Just one cup of asparagus has 66% of your daily value of folic acid. It’s easy to incorporate this superfood into your diet – you can use it as an ingredient in an omelet or throw some asparagus tips into a salad. Try to work it into at least two meals a day to regulate mood.

For Stress: Eat Oranges
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which brings high stress hormones back to normal levels more quickly. Vitamin C also helps lower blood pressure. Blood pressure can rise in response to stressful situations. Eat an orange as a snack on the days when you anticipate extra stress at home or at work. Doing so about an hour before a stressful situation can help you stay calm.

Source: Dr. Oz

15 Easy Ways to Get Your Fruits & Vegetables

Are you eating as many fruits & vegetables as you should? Here are 15 easy ways to include them, daily!

1.   Stock your kitchen with fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits & veggies.
2.   Add spinach, asparagus, bell peppers, tomatoes or other veggies to your scrambled eggs or omelet.
3.   Include fresh or dried fruit & raw vegetables in your lunch/snacks.
4.   Add bell peppers, cucumbers & lettuce to your deli sandwiches.
5.   Keep a fruit bowl on the counter of your kitchen for a quick snack.
6.   If you buy your lunch, choose the fresh fruit option instead of fries!
7.   When at the salad bar, fill your plate with greens before you add carbs.
8.   Keep a small bag of baby carrots or other raw vegetables within easy reach.
Green Smoothie (see #14)
9.   Along with fresh greens, buy vegetables that won't spoil quickly such as
      carrots, potatoes, onions and zucchini.
10. For dinner, add vegetables to the meals you already love.
11. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables, such as asparagus & roast them for a
      delicious side.
12. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to spaghetti sauce, such as spinach.
13. Salads will stay fresh longer if left undressed. To save time prepare
      enough to last a few days or buy bagged salads.
14. For dessert, make a green smoothie!  Add bananas, berries, mangos,
      peaches & top it off with spinach, romaine lettuce or kale.
15. Lastly, make healthy eating exciting!! Sample fruits
      and vegetables that you've never tried.

Remember that variety is key. Different fruits & veggies provide your body with different nutrients. I always use color as my guide. Meaning that choosing fruits & veggies of different colors helps to ensure you are getting a good mix of vitamins.

Grocery List

I thought I'd share with you items I typically pick up from the grocery store. Feel free to adjust to your liking. Also, if you are interested in how I prepare meals, please email me.

Note: The list is separated by food groups.

Fruits (fresh, frozen, canned or dried):
  • Pineapples, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Kiwi, Mangos, Peaches, Cherries, Prunes, Raisins, Blueberries Dates & Apples.
Veggies (fresh, frozen, canned or dried):
  • Spinach, Collards, Kale, Romaine, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Onions, Bell Peppers, Brussels Sprout, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Lentils, Okra, Mushrooms, Celery, Green Tea/Matcha Powder, Avocado, Asparagus, & Eggplant. 
  • Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Honey Whole Wheat Bread, various Pastas, Wild Rice, Couscous, Barley & Spinach Wraps.
  • Ground Chicken, Chicken Thighs, Chicken Breasts, Ribeye Steak, Canned Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Crab, Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, Mixed Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Pecans Almond Butter & Peanut Butter.
  • Fruit filled Greek Yogurt, Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, PepperJack Cheese, & Daiya Cheese. I typically do not purchase a lot of dairy. If in a "sweet tooth" mood, I will grab Gelato (though it's rare).
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Almond Oil and Coconut Oil.
Please view Choose my Plate for a quick guide on creating a healthy, balanced plate.

Welcome to Food-Mood!

So happy that you have found my site! My name is Jennifer M. Philips and I want to be your Nutrition & Wellness Counselor! To learn more about me, please visit the "About" tab. In a nutshell, my background combines both mental health counseling and nutrition/wellness. I have a passion for connecting with people and helping them lead a more healthy, balanced lifestyle. Here on the site, I'll share how different foods ultimately affect how you feel.

Feel free to contact me via email at and remember you are what you eat!!